The world of retail has undergone a massive change over the years. From the times when customers did not have too many choices, and when salespeople knew more than the modern-day search engines, to the present day, when the customers are truly empowered and actually have multiple choices to shop from, the retail industry has indeed come a long way. The advent of e-commerce and online shopping has fueled the retail revolution, with more and more retailers today adapting to the requirements of modern-day retailing. However, that has not been easy.
Already facing a wide range of challenges such as the need to operate on tight margins, deal with fickle consumers, and constantly moving stock, increased competition from new retail formats such as e-commerce and web stores, managing different pricing, discount and loyalty rules applied to hundreds of products at multiple retail outlets, etc., the retailers are looking to find ways that can keep them ahead of the competition. But for that, they need to improve and streamline their processes constantly, which cannot be done through manual methods or primitive legacy software.
Enter retail ERP software, which gives the retail businesses a whole new level of control over operations. It allows them to manage both online as well as offline retail business and give the customers a consistent, omnichannel experience across all touchpoints. It also allows the retailers to handle a number of other activities apart from sales transactions, such as inventory management, returns and exchanges, tracking customer behavior, driving new customers to purchase products, and keeping existing customers loyal, etc.
Through the inventory management functionality of a retail ERP, the retailers can manage the quantity of inventory in hand, optimize the inventory levels, manage material movements, handle expiry and shelf-life, and so much more. Apart from this, the retailers can have a real-time and accurate view into their stock, thus ensuring quick replenishment of their top-selling items, as well as phasing out of low-selling products. Its barcode scanning functionality makes stocktaking and inventory management a quick and accurate exercise.
A retail ERP software comes loaded with real-time retail analytics and reporting through its powerful dashboard of sales and orders. It makes decision making on the matters related to sales forecast, targets, discounts, product pricing etc. easier for the retailers, who can also create custom reports that can be exported for further analysis and used across business functions. It also makes capturing and analyzing the store’s sales data possible, through which the retailers can identify the top money-making products, and focus energy and resources on them.
The Customer Relationship Management (CRM) module of a retail ERP software gives the retailers an integrated and comprehensive view of their customers, thus empowering them to manage the customers in a personalized manner across all sales channels every single time they shop. The retailers are now aware of the customers’ buying patterns, history, feedback etc., which allows them to identify their most valuable shoppers and serve them accordingly.
This feature enables the retailers to manage any number of stores and warehouses and link them to each other or through a headquarter. It also supports stores to warehouses assignment for automatic sourcing and dividing warehouses into zones and locators for handling materials management.
Retailers can define rules for procurement, have supplier setups for same products on the basis of regions, either auto-generate a requisition or manually generate it, create purchase approvals across different levels and manage multiple purchase price lists, generate purchase order based on requirements, match PO to receipts and invoice, and have a clear view of their vendor relationship history – thanks to the retail ERP software.
In this era of consumerism, shoppers prefer to shop at the stores which recognize them as loyal customers and give them a preferential treatment. Considering this, it has become important for the retailers to identify and retain their loyal customers, thus paving the way for loyalty management. The loyalty management functionality allows retailers to tailor various types of membership programs for their regular buyers, designed in line with the store’s marketing & promotional schemes.
A retail ERP software provides retailers with advanced pricing and discount management feature, which results in uniformity, error-free work, and satisfied customers. The system also enables creating purchase and sales price lists, managing their different versions, facilitates future price planning, promotional management & pricing, real-time pricing updates to the counters, special discount & offer schemes, etc.
To have an online store is the need of every retailer today. However, managing it could prove to be a herculean task if not integrated with the retail ERP software. Web store’s integration with the ERP enables the retailers to function more effectively as a business by reducing data redundancy, operational and inventory costs, increasing productivity, customer satisfaction, generating financial reports etc.
The most important part of a retail business – or any business for that matter – are the people, the employees. Hence employee management becomes an important component of a well-run retail business. A retail ERP software enables managing them efficiently by keeping track of shift scheduling, time clocks, the number of hours employees are working etc. Besides, the software also assigns sales commissions to employees, allows monitoring who’s working, how long they’re working, how much money they’ve brought in and how many hours they’ve worked in the current pay period.
Any blog on must-have retail ERP features can’t be complete without the mention of POS system. After all, the vital component of the checkout process and the point of primary interaction between the retailer and the consumer deserves a definite mention. Automated tasks such as item look-up, price calculation are made possible by POS’ capabilities such as barcode scanning and receipt printing. What’s more, devices such as Mobile POS have further simplified things for the retailers as well as consumers by enhancing the customer experience. With its help, retailers can complete a sales transaction from anywhere, anytime, speeding up the checkout and return lines.